Changes to Guelph Politico Coming in 2018

In the interest of taking stock, as usual, at the end of the year, let us now look ahead to the coming year, and what changes you might expect on your favourite local political site. No! I mean Guelph Politico. Here are seven goals that we can all look forward to in the coming 12 months.

10 Years of Politico! Yes, Guelph Politico turns 10 years old in 2018. The first post of the original “Guelph By-Election Blog ’08” was on July 25, 2008, and while I’m not sure how I want to mark the occasion yet, it would be silly to think that I wouldn’t want to treat this year as a special occasion, and that’s how the rest of these points are going to come into play…

New Website. Yes, I promised this last year, but for about three months I was managing a whole other site in addition to Politico, and then my main computer died, and then I had to get a retail day job just in time for the busy Christmas shopping season while handling two council meetings per week. So yeah, I fell behind. I’m hoping to double time it over the holidays to build upon the about halfway completed new Politico site and have it ready in time for the first council meeting of the year, which is January 15’s Committee-of-the-Whole meeting.

Changes to Council Coverage. Speaking of council coverage, some changes will have to be made here. First of all, Storify is coming to an end in May, which means I will have no way to collect and recap the live tweets from council meetings, and in my explorations so far, there’s no easy app that can do what Storify does so well and so easily. I was already thinking of ways to recap the council meetings that fall outside of just a general article like on Guelph Today or in the Guelph Tribune, something that was easy to read and digestible in the same way as the previews. So this will, obviously, be a priority.

Regular Features. The meat and potatoes of Politico, I think, has become the podcast and the live coverage of council meetings, but there’s still room to grow. But if there’s one thing that the City’s journalism diet needs more of it’s investigative work, and more insight and storytelling. I’ve already experimented with this with last October’s piece about Scientology moving into 40 Baker, a chance to take a breath and gather all the information on an issue in one piece rather than swinging wildly from one day’s story development to the next. There are some great stories out there, and I would like to get the chance to finally tell them this year. Of course, there are some rather big ongoing stories to deal with as well…

2018 Provincial Election. Coverage of the 2018 Provincial Election will pretty much shadow the coverage Politico did of the 2015 Federal Election. What does that mean? We’ll aim to have candidate interviews for the entire hour on every episode of Open Sources Guelph leading up to the election, while Politico will cover day-to-day events and other campaign coverage. During this period, I hope that the Politicast will be able to serve as a way to cast light on some of the broader issues outside of the partisan campaign, issues like poverty, education, job training, hydro, and whatever else this campaign might be decided on.

2018 Municipal Election. This will be the forth municipal campaign I’ve covered, the third for Politico, and it seems unlikely that the well-established formula in that coverage will be shook up too much for the coming campaign. But there will be some exceptions, of course. Note that the usual electoral process has been significantly altered this year with only a three month window starting May 1 for people to file their candidacies, which means after that there will be about three solid months of campaigning after the close of nominations. Having said that, the usual Politico Candidate Questionnaire to council candidates will go out as soon as each candidate is registered instead of waiting till the fall. We’ll also be moving the mayoral candidate interviews to Open Sources Guelph versus 2014 when they were featured on the Politicast, which will now, like for the provincial election, be more issues-based. At the same time, I don’t want to forget about the school board races, and would like to expand that coverage in some way too. I think too that there will be opportunities for learning. What does it mean to be a city councillor? What are the powers? What are the limits of those powers? What are the responsibilities? And how does one change or compromise between what they run on, and how they govern? Let use this as an opportunity to educate on municipal politics *in addition* to covering the horse race!

Full Funded! Yes, I want to make sure this year’s electoral opportunities do not go to waste! Let’s finally fully fund Guelph Politico, and to that end I plan on doing a heck of a lot more promotion. There will be new ways to contribute one-time only donations with the new site, and the new site will also list the names of contributors to show that this is an important community effort. The time for mourning the Mercury is over, and on top of that I have two more things to add. 1) Right now, Guelph Politico is a unique entity in that it’s a crowd-funded journalistic site for the Royal City, and if you want more, then it’s going to have to be proved that the model can be a success here. 2) I keep hearing that a “one-man band” can’t do all the things a newspaper can do, and those people are right, but no where have I ever said that Guelph Politico is meant to be a one-man band. The more money it makes, the more resources it has available, and the more people can be brought in to help deliver the news. You want a big, robust news site in the city, this is the path to do it, and I hope more people will help out in 2018.

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